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Are there any countries on earth that can legally deny its own citizens entry into said country?

I'm excluding transit to different countries to reach the destination.

It's also irrelevant to the answer on what happens after the person has entered the country (Like arrest or quarantine)

I'm specifically asking if a national of a country (holder of said countries passport) or resident of a country (with valid residence permit for said country) is standing at the border, could they legally be denied entry?

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  • I think this is a question for Law.SE, not here. – xuq01 Mar 12 '20 at 14:57
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    @xuq01 It's essentially covered on Politics.SE (not an exact duplicate, but close enough). – gerrit Mar 12 '20 at 14:59
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    Note:citizen of a country is different from "passport holders" and "residents". Nationality can be revoked (usually if you have an other nationality, because of apolid convention), e.g. by fraud on application (or on some countries because of grave crimes in the first years). – Giacomo Catenazzi Mar 12 '20 at 15:04
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi This is a critical distinction. The question is based on a flawed premise that citizenship and and residence are equivalent. Two answers are answering two different things: one is if CITIZENS can be banned (no), one is if RESIDENTS can be banned (yes, their residency can be stripped). – Matthew FitzGerald-Chamberlain Mar 12 '20 at 17:55
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No. See this answer on Politics Stack Exchange:

Internationally speaking, there are actually no countries using the exile or banishment in their current legislation because this is regulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so (to repeat) there's no country (so far) using exile in their laws.

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  • OTOH countries can revoke citizenship if one committed fraud on applying for it. – Giacomo Catenazzi Mar 12 '20 at 15:04
  • IIRC there was also a big controversy not so long ago about the UK revoking citizenship for someone who was a dual citizen by birth and had decided to go and join ISIS – Peter Green Mar 12 '20 at 17:02
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    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no force of law in many countries. It cannot therefore be the reason for their legislation concerning exile and banishment. – phoog Mar 12 '20 at 17:15
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    @Peter Green. She wasn't a dual citizen, that was the controversy. It's a breach of international law to render a person stateless by stripping them of their primary citizenship. The British government claimed that they weren't in breach of intl law because she was eligible for (but did not have) Bangladeshi citizenship (although the government of bangladesh maintains that she would be denied entry). – zeocrash Mar 12 '20 at 17:15
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    If you can forfeit a "human right", it's not a human right, it's a privilege. The idea of human rights is that they apply to all people and are inalienable. I feel that's a discussion for law stackexchange though. The big problem with international law is not that its written by crooks, it's that it's enforced by the same people it's meant to police. It's all very well slapping sanctions on a minor state, but if you're a powerful country or have powerful friends people are a lot more reluctant to punish you for your indiscretions. – zeocrash Mar 12 '20 at 17:42
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Yes in some cases. From https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/know-your-rights/know-your-rights-us-airports-and-ports-entry

Lawful permanent residents cannot be refused entry unless their travel was not brief (more than 180 days) or they engaged in illegal activity after leaving the United States as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)

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  • The question said "any country," so a USA-only item is not an answer. – WGroleau Mar 12 '20 at 17:17
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    The question is "Are there any countries on earth ..". I would think that the US qualifies ??? All I'm saying is "there are cases in which the US can/will deny entry to a permanent resident". Doesn't that answer the question ? – Hilmar Mar 12 '20 at 17:27
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    @WGroleau a question asking about "any country" may be satisfied with a statement about any single country. I therefore find your comment puzzling. – phoog Mar 12 '20 at 17:28
  • At least until the 'Nationality Act of 1940', Section 404, revoking of citizenship for nationalised citizens who resided outside the US longer than 2/3 or 5 years was possible. Not sure when that was repealed. – Mark Johnson Mar 12 '20 at 17:46
  • "Are there any countries that do" is not answered by saying that one country doesn't. But I am not the person who downvoted. And maybe I misunderstood. – WGroleau Mar 12 '20 at 19:43
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East Germany used to deny entry to some of their citizens over the years. can legally? They were their own legislation. Who would force a country to let their own citizens in?

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  • I think this is against the two human rights conventions signed by most states. But I'm not entirely sure. – xuq01 Mar 12 '20 at 14:57
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    East/West Germany was a bit of a particular case when citizenship is considered. West considered East as a zone under Soviet control, not sure how East considered West, but people from the East were not considered as foreigners in the West. – gerrit Mar 12 '20 at 14:58
  • @gerrit When East Germany revoked citizenship, the person did not become statless, unless they were (through East Germany) were nationalised citizens. West Germans, when allowed to move permanently to East Germany, were not nationalised. – Mark Johnson Mar 12 '20 at 17:15
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  • If a national of the country with no other citizenship, no for countries which are signatories to the treaties to avoid statelessness (this does not include the US). If the person has multiple nationalities, they could revoke their citizenship. This is usually only permissible for acquired nationalities rather than those you get by birth, but this is country-dependent.

  • If a permanent resident of the country, they could simply revoke their permanent residency. In many countries, this may be quite difficult or limited to extreme cases, and there could be regulations that protect one from such a measure, but it's definitely possible in at least some countries. The details would be specific to each country (and the reason for them to want to reject those people).

If the question is related to the current Covid-19 situation, then of course even if they let you in, this could be followed by immediate quarantine.

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  • "this is probably country-dependent": it is certainly country dependent. With some countries that haven't acceded to the convention on the reduction of statelessness, including the US, it's possible for someone to lose the country's nationality even without having multiple nationalities. – phoog Mar 12 '20 at 17:19
  • @phoog In the case of the US, the person would have needed to have had another citizenship at birth, as only naturalised citizens can see their citizenship revoked. I suppose it can indeed happen that someone would have lost their original citizenship at some point (possibly because they acquired US citizenship) and then become stateless, but this must be quite the odd case. – jcaron Mar 12 '20 at 17:28
  • It is not correct to say that "only naturalised citizens can see their citizenship revoked." Any citizen may be expatriated after a conviction for treason. Granted, this could be overturned by the courts, since there have been many developments in nationality jurisprudence since it last happened. There certainly have been cases of people being made stateless by denaturalization; see for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and search for "accept"; there are six people who could not be deported because no country would accept them. – phoog Mar 12 '20 at 17:41
  • There are also acts other than treason that would cause a natural-born US citizen to be expatriated if the government could prove that the act was done voluntarily and with the intention to lose US nationality, but proving that would be more difficult in those cases than it would be in a case of treason. The statute, which includes the list of acts, is 8 USC 1481. – phoog Mar 12 '20 at 17:44

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